The Los Angeles Lakers were on a three-game losing streak, making the game against the Houston Rockets a must-win in every sense.
The Rockets own the worst record in the 2022-23 season, and despite it coming on the second end of a back-to-back,the Lakers needed the win to get some momentum back. Knowing what was at stake, LeBron James delivered with a masterful scoring performance to lead Los Angeles to a win.
James has been on a tear since turning 38 years old, and that was on full display as he took advantage of a hapless Rockets defense. The King got anything he wanted offensively: drives to the rim, midrange jump shots, and even long-distance bombs that he has been struggling with throughout the season.
On the night, James would finish with a season-high 48 points on an efficient 16-of-26 shooting, including an impressive 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and 11-of-12 from the free throw line. He also added nine assists and eight rebounds for good measure.
After a disastrous final sequence in the previous game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Russell Westbrook played a better all-around game against Houston as he, too, carved up their interior defense. Westbrook was a menace attacking the rim where he was able to get to the basket at will and finish over defenders.
Westbrook backed up James with 24 points while also contributing five rebounds and four assists.
Kendrick Nunn has started to come alive for the Lakers off the bench in recent weeks and provided another solid scoring performance. Nunn scored 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a dunk in the first half that was arguably the play of the game.
Rounding out the strong play from the bench was Wenyen Gabriel, who once again gave the team a much-needed shot in the arm with his energy on both ends of the floor. Although Gabriel fouled out, he was productive with his minutes as he scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
For the Rockets, the night belonged to Alperen Sengun, who had his way with Thomas Bryant. Sengun scored a career-high 33 points but also had 11 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.
What’s next for Lakers
The Lakers get another matchup against their Pacific Division rivals the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. The homestand continues with a tough game on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies before they hit the road to take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
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